Pekin defeats Fairfield in Pride ScrimmagePanthers fight off Trojan comeback
Winter’s brutal arrival coincided with the beginning of a new sporting season Saturday in Packwood.
The Fairfield and Pekin girls’ basketball teams met for a Pride Scrimmage. Pekin is participating in the Iowa Hall of Pride Challenge, which means both participating teams in the scrimmage selected community service projects to help families in need. Families were given the opportunity to make donations as they shuffled out of one of the first truly bitter winter night of the year and into Pekin High School. The scrimmage was for a good cause, and on top of it, everyone got to watch basketball as well. The Panthers won the scrimmage 60-55.
The game started out slowly and then quickly picked up speed.
Fairfield’s McKenna Ledger put in the game’s first basket from the field with 1:43 to go in the first quarter, making the score 5-4 Pekin. After that, the scoring came in bunches. The Trojans took a 10-5 lead after freshman Samantha Fritz put in a lay up with just over four minutes to go in the second quarter.
Both teams hit the afterburners, so much so that the halftime score was 32-26 Pekin. Gwynne Wright, who led the Panthers with 19 points, would kiss two three-pointers off the glass during the run.
“I told the girls that we did two things really well,” Pekin coach Davis Eidahl said. “We got behind, and then we battled back. Then we had an eight or nine point lead and they battled back, we didn’t lose our composure.”
The game went back and forth in the second half. With three minutes to go the Panthers led 47-44. Fairfield fouled themselves into the double bonus, which put Pekin at the free throw line frequently down the stretch. Hanna Greiner fouled out with 2.5 minutes to go, and four other Trojans would end the night with four fouls.
“Obviously, our fouling and putting Pekin on the line 46 times is something that we have to get corrected,” Fairfield coach Mick Flattery said. “Too much hand checking and swatting of attempted shots got us into early foul problems.”
Fritz would bring the Trojans back late with four of her 12 points on the night. Marisa Repp, who led Fairfield with 14 points, nailed a three-pointer with under a minute to go to put Fairfield down by one.
In the end, a flurry of shots by the Trojans didn’t find the bottom of the net and Pekin was able corral the rebound to hold on.
Sophomore Beth Atwood scored 18 points for the Panthers. Atwood and Wright were the driving force behind the victory.
The game was important for both teams because it gave them practice for the regular season.
“This game provided a lot of teaching points to take back to practice,” Flattery said. “Also, it provided real game situations that are hard to simulate in practice.
“Coach Eidahl does a great job with his gals. I really think that they will win a lot of games.”
Eidahl agrees the game was a great learning tool.
“It gave the girls a chance to play in front of a crowd,” Eidahl said. “We had a pretty good crowd tonight. Fairfield plays how we want to play. They just hound you, and we want to do that. Everyone contributed, and the whole thing worked out good for us.”
The Trojans begin the regular season Tuesday against Ottumwa. Pekin also starts the season Tuesday and will travel to WACO.
Fairfield JV wins
The Fairfield JV won 44-43 on a last second three-pointer by Brooke McLain. McLain led the Trojans with 17 points. Kenady Waugh scored 12 points, brought down six rebounds and had six steals. Kaylee Watson had six points and three rebounds. Haley Beard scored four points and had three rebounds.